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Pony Bradshaw (from North Georgia Rounder on Black Mountain Music) (by Lee Zimmerman)
Described by the artist himself as a Folk tale, James ‘Pony’ Bradshaw’s new album North Georgia Rounder can best be summed up by these lyrics from the title track ‘“I’m a North Georgia Rounder playing these foothill stomps… Run these rivers singing these sins’.
It’s not a necessarily happy tale, given the mournful vocal that characterizes each of the album’s offerings. And on a song such as “Mosquitos” in particular, the sadness and despair become a palatable part of the proceedings. 'Me and balance … we’ve never really worked out’, he confesses elsewhere while offering acknowledgement that the life a touring musician as name- checked in the album’s title isn’t exactly conducive to finding peace and harmony at home.
In spite of that scenario — or perhaps because that’s the case in fact — North Georgia Rounder is a deeply affecting album, one dominated by forlorn ballads with deeply expressive intents. While certain tracks share a sense of comfort — “A Free, Roving Mind”, “Safe in the Arms of Vernacular”, and “Kindly Turn the Bed Down, Drusilla” in particular — the melancholia Pony Bradshaw shares is never far from the surface. On the other hand, Bradshaw effectively takes an archivist’s approach, one that stays true to traditional trappings while remaining relevant through a personal perspective.
As a follow-up to his telling debut, Sudden Opera (2019), North Georgia Rounder continues to establish Pony Bradshaw as a not-so-young up-and -comer willing to share his reflections on life, longing, and the need to find singular salvation in a world where the best options aren’t always available. He’s a confessional singer/songwriter and one whose world-easy outlook finds a fit at a time when uncertainty and discomfort clearly seem to prevail. Nevertheless, there’s clarity in his convictions, and cause for believing that perseverance can reap its rewards. In that regard, this North Georgia Rounder can be considered a source of insightful inspiration. (by Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of Pony Bradshaw from AMAZON
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